The B-24 Liberator was a four-engined heavy bomber built by Consolidated Aircraft. It was produced in greater numbers than any other American combat plane during World War II and still holds the record as the most produced US aircraft. It was used by every branch of service during the conflict, earning a distingushed war record with its operations in the European, African, Pacific and Middle Eastern theaters. The PB4Y-1 Liberator was the navalized version of the B-24.
The Liberator was notorious among American air crews for its tendency to catch fire from battle damage because of the placement of its fuel tanks and its lightweight construction. It was more difficult to fly as well, with more instruments and switches facing the pilot and more training required before proficiency was achieved. However, the Liberator excelled over other contemporary World War II heavy bombers in versatility. It had a long operating range, which led to it being used for various duties including maritime patrol and anti-submarine work, reconnaissance, tanker, cargo and personnel transport. Winston Churchill used one as his own transport aircraft.
A total of 18,482 Liberators were built by September 1945. The US Navy acquired 977 PB4Y-1s, which were used in sinking U-boats, photographic reconnaissance and transport during the war. In 1944, two modified PB4Y-1s were used in Project Anvil as pilotless flying bombs to take out a German V-2 installation in occupied France. The aircraft were fitted with remote control gear, a forward-looking television camera and 25,000 lbs of explosives.